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Online Exclusive: Many Support Hiring Bratton’s Successor from Within LAPD

As the city grapples with the news of Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton’s unexpected resignation, many city and business leaders have begun to tout the notion that a replacement should come from within the department. “I just say to the city of Los Angeles: ‘You had a good one, but I know there’s people within the LAPD, there’s at least five that I’m aware of, that could easily take that job and run with it,” said Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee Baca, speaking at a recent event of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. The names of several people within the department have begun surfacing in the local media as potential candidates. The more obvious ones include Bratton’s three assistants Jim McDonnell, Earl Paysinger and Sharon Papa. Another likely candidate is Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, a highly regarded veteran of the department who oversees LAPD detectives. In the San Fernando Valley, many in the business community point to Deputy Chief Michel Moore as a good contender. “I would love to see Deputy Chief Moore in that role, a lot of people in the Valley are fans of his,” said VICA President Stuart Waldman. “I think it’s extremely important that we replace Chief Bratton with somebody that will follow a lot of the policies that Chief Bratton had, and will focus on community policing which is extremely important.” Meanwhile, Moore said he’s still digesting the news of Bratton’s surprise departure. He has not decided if he will apply for the Chief position, but he said he is very tempted by the idea. “The job, being chief of police for the second largest city in the U.S, offers a police leader a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their skills to provide service; to really leave a mark – a legacy if you will- of their time in this profession,” he said. “So for me, as a member of this organization for 28 years, it is a very tempting opportunity and one I believe I have the capabilities of performing in. However, deciding to enter into that competition shouldn’t be made offhandedly or without some due regard, without really thinking about it and understanding it.” Moore said he’s talking with his family, weighing the decision carefully, as he’s been getting nudges and encouragement from the community. One thing he’s sure of is that the new chief should come from within the department. “I look forward to hopefully seeing our next chief being someone from within the agency. I believe we have a deep bench of qualified candidates. Many of my peers, in the senior leadership of this organization I think are capable,” Moore said. “There’s a time when an organization is in a state of crisis, when the leadership is in turmoil or dysfunctional or ill equipped to take on the reins, but today the organization is not in any of that,” Moore said. “As Sheriff Baca indicated, he can think of at least five individuals that can become an effective chief of police. While I think I’m one of them (and I don’t know yet that I want to make that choice) I’m confident that the home grown, the people that are here, are an outstanding choice.” As required by the City Charter, the city’s personnel department will conduct a search for candidates and hand at least six suggestions to the Police Commission, who in turn will select three finalists. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will pick a new chief from that selection or demand more choices. The Mayor’s selection needs to be ratified by the City Council. Regardless of who gets appointed, Bratton’s successor will have huge shoes to fill. Bratton, 61, is credited with restoring trust and credibility to a department tainted by the Rodney King beating and the riots that followed; and one that has struggled to rid itself of a thuggish reputation stemming back to the Rampart Scandal. Under Bratton’s leadership, crime rates have steadily declined every year during his seven years at the helm. Bratton has been successful in instituting a culture of constitutional policing, and has made significant strides towards improving relationships with minority communities. Los Angeles has never had a more effective police department and the credit goes to Bratton, Baca said. “Chief Bill Bratton has been one of the greatest leaders,” Baca continued. “It’s going to be hard for me to lose him as a partner and friend because he has been truly so cooperative in all of the endeavors we’ve done.” Bratton and Baca cooperated to build a joint regional intelligence center and developed a system of cooperation between their gang units and intelligence units, among other things. Bratton announced his resignation August 5 and will move back to New York to become the chief executive officer of a new private security company that will consult with governments, primarily to help build and improve police forces.

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